Fannin County School Superintendent Mark Henson made it very clear that he will comply with providing transgender bathrooms in Fannin County schools. He said, “Folks we’re here for kids. We’re here to do the right thing. We’re here to obey the law. If we don’t obey the law there could be consequences… We’re looking after all 3000 of our children. We can’t lose our sight of this school system.”
The consequences which Mr. Henson is speaking about is $3.5 million of federal education monies which could be lost if the system stops complying with Title IX. Title IX, a civil rights amendment, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-funded education programs and activities. Title IX covers an incredibly wide range of potential areas of discrimination from amount and type of sports teams offered at schools to amount and types of bathrooms provided to students. Subsequent interpretations of the law show that “gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notion of masculinity or femininity” comes under the umbrella of sex discrimination. Title IX is not something that a school board can vote to agree or disagree with. Title IX is federal law.
School Board member Terry Bramlett told the board that he has always taught in his seminars, “You can seek to change the law, but you cannot not obey the law.”
Mr. Henson’s remarks at the end of the Fannin County Schools’ Board of Education workshop meeting were to inform the board and public that the school system will continue to comply with Title IX requirements and provide transgender bathrooms. Mr. Henson is making these remarks before anticipated protests at the formal Board of Education meeting on Thursday, May 10th. The anticipated protests are in response to Fannin County’s compliance with Title IX requirements about bathrooms for transgendered students. The protests are expected to take place during the public comments section of the meeting. The School Board will not be making any motions at the meeting in regards to voting for or against transgendered bathrooms. The bathrooms are already in the schools because the system is complying with federally-mandated Title IX regulations.
Mr. Henson thanked Board members for making his job easier because their hearts are in the right place. He added that he hopes this period of time does not disrupt the unity of the board and asked them to please bear with the process of standing up for the law. He said, “We do this job because we care about our kids.”
The Fannin County Sherriff’s department has begun preparing for an anticipated protest which will have groups opposing and supporting transgender student rights. There is a possibility that the School Board will move its meeting from the Board of Education office to a larger space at Fannin County High School to accommodate the anticipated crowd.
See related post: Transgender Bathrooms in Fannin County Schools